Pixels, Plows & Partnerships: Designing for Food Deserts

Kel Smith, BFA | Studio E

Principal, Anikto LLC



Food security is a growing dilemma among today’s low-access and low-income communities. Poor nutrition literacy, inadequate transportation and substandard product quality all contribute to the emergence of “food deserts,” affecting millions of families worldwide.

Developing and maintaining healthy behaviors is a learned skill that requires an inventive approach and a commitment to empathetic, clear communication. Inspired by technology startups in developing countries, social enterprises around the globe have succeeded in delivering innovative, cost-effective solutions where government interventions have failed. Renewed interest in local agriculture, particularly among members of urban tech communities, reveals new strategies for how people acquire and use the food they eat.

This presentation will examine the cultural and societal aspects of nutrition literacy, exploring the evolution of interaction design and its impact on food quality and distribution. We’ll review worldwide case studies demonstrating how personal empowerment results in greater food accessibility. And we’ll uncover surprising ways in which today’s interconnected marketplace bridges gaps between farm and fork.


Learning objectives:

  • Name three long-term effects of poor nutrition support
  • Name three contributors that create barriers to food accessibility
  • Name three examples where urban farming and technology have increased food security



Bridging cultural gaps and eliminating barriers